Welcome back baseball fans to our first 2022 edition of MLB by the Numbers – where we take a trip around the league, focusing on the eye-popping and noteworthy stats and accomplishments of the young season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers (unsurprisingly) are baseball’s first team to 8 wins – standing atop the competitive NL West at 8-2.
The Cincinnati Reds hold baseball’s worst record at 2-9. Cincy bested the defending champion Braves on opening night – splitting the 4-game series (2-2). Since, the Reds have lost 2 to the Guardians and then dropped 4-straight to the juggernaut Dodgers.
The Reds are currently trying to figure things out in San Diego before returning home to friendly fans on Friday night against fierce rival St. Louis.
In the American League, the Chicago White Sox hold the best record (barely) at 6-3 – besting the Blue Jays and Astros who are both 6-4.
The worst team in the AL is finally someone other than the Orioles – who held this distinction for all of last season. It is the Texas Rangers with a 2-7 record who now occupy the junior circuit cellar.
Let’s dig right in and see what’s been happening across baseball that requires our early attention.
The league-high hit streak of Rafael Devers and Jose Ramirez.
The Red Sox and Guardians third basemen are 2 of the hottest hitters over the MLB’s first week and a half.
Here’s a look at the slash lines of the two hitters. Look at Rafael Devers’ line first. It’s awesome! A .368 average will win a batting title most seasons while a .605 slugging percentage is exactly what you want from someone in the middle of your lineup.
But now look at Jose Ramirez’s gaudy line. It makes Devers look like a chump.
Ramirez is hitting an unsustainable .457 through the first 9 games of the season with an on-base percentage right at .500. That’s right, Jose Ramirez has reached base in exactly half of his plate appearances.
An .886 slugging percentage gives Ramirez an otherworldly 1.386 OPS (on-base + slugging).
José Ramirez has been in MVP talks before but has never won the award. He is an early contender on Bovada to do so – given (+1500) odds – the 5th-shortest in the AL.
What a week for Hosey.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) April 18, 2022
The power numbers are pretty impressive for Rafael Devers through 9 games. 2 home runs and 7 RBIs put him on a pace for a 36/126 season with 144 runs scored.
No hitter has bopped 36 dingers with 126 driven in since J.D. Martinez went off for 43/130 in 2018.
Once again, J-Ram makes Devers look weak. Ramirez has gone yard 3 times with an MLB-leading 15 runs batted in.
Should Ramirez continue this torrid pace for 162 games he will finish the season with 54 home runs and 270 RBIs!!
Of course, this will not happen. The all-time leader in single-season RBIs is Hack Wilson with 191 RBIs in 1930.
The number of hits by 21-year-old Wander Franco.
This is easily the most hits by a player 22 or younger and is tied for the most in the entire MLB with Jose Ramirez and Matt Olson.
Franco – the Rays shortstop – is a .381 hitter whose 16 hits are 10 singles, 5 doubles, and a triple off the wall in the right-center field gap.
The spray chart tells the story of Franco’s swing. He is making contact with almost everything but has yet to showcase his power at the big league level.
As a prospect, the undersized Franco was graded a 60 in power, which is pretty good.
So far this year Franco has driven just two gaps and mostly lives off of singles and slicing extra-base hits down the line.
Until losing prospect status, Wander was considered the premier prospect in all of baseball. That title is now held by Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. followed by Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman.
Franco has driven in 5 runs and scored 8 times this season. He no longer has rookie status so he is not in the running for that award and his numbers are not nearly as good as Jose Ramirez or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for MVP talks.
Perhaps Franco can get his name in the hat for Most Improved Player of the Year.
The number of home runs by MLB-leading home run hitters Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and C.J. Cron.
Vladimir “Little Vlad” Guerrero and C.J. “No Nickname” Cron. One was taken top-three in every fantasy draft this spring while the other was largely non-drafted.
For all their differences, these two are putting together identical seasons in 2022.
For example, both have 5 home runs with 10 RBIs and 7 runs scored. Both have a WAR of 0.5 with a Def score of -0.8.
Both have a .273 BABIP with 193 WRC+ (weighted runs created plus).
You have to squint to notice the differences in their stat lines. Cron is batting .297 while Little Vlad is at .289.
Cron is on base at a clip of .333 while Vlad is a touch lower at .325. Cron’s xwOBA clocks in at .464. Vlad is a touch better at .470.
Cron has struck out in 25.6% of his plate appearances this year while Guerrero has done so in 27.5% of appearances.
Oh yeah, and they are interchangeable on the base paths – each stealing a grand total of 0 bags thus far in 2022.
27-year-old Japanese Rookie Seiya Suzuki’s League-Leading OPS to Begin Season.
Highly-sought after 27-year-old Japanese rookie Seiya Suzuki landed with the Chicago Cubs this winter. Major League debuts of foreigners are extremely hard to predict given the gap in talent between baseball leagues across the world.
For now, it appears the Cubs found a diamond in the rough grass of the island nation of Japan.
Not only is Suzuki easily the top-performing rookie of 2022, his first 9 games would stack up well against any 9-game start to an MLB season in history.
— MLB (@MLB) March 18, 2022
In his first 9 contests, Suzuki is hitting an even .400 with an on-base percentage of .543.
Earlier, we were just raving about Jose Ramirez’s .500 on-base percentage and how crazy it is that he’s reaching base in half of his appearances. Suzuki is a good deal better than that.
Suzuki is slugging an insane .960 – giving him a Major League-leading 1.503 on base plus slugging. I’ll reiterate … he’s a rookie.
The following is a list of categories in which Seiya Suzuki leads all Major League rookies this year: batting average at .400, on-base percentage at .543, slugging percentage at .960, RBIs with 11, home runs with 4, walks with 9, intentional walks with 2, total bases with 24.
He is also tied for the most runs scored by a rookie at 7 along with the Guardians’ Steven Kwan.
That’s it for this week, boppers. See you on top!